Monday, December 6, 2010

Mothering Motherless (Now and Then)

She came to me, via text of course, about depression... asking if I have it, if I take medication, because... she read somewhere that it can be genetic and well... she thinks she's depressed.  Her exact words, "I have been kinda waiting to be happy for like two years now."

She told me she told her dad and he bought her hot chocolate, and then told her it was because she was a girl and a teen.  She said, "I feel like he doesn't take it seriously."

OMFG.  Is he retarded?

I told her it was serious and how she was feeling is real.  I told her how brave she is and how proud I am of her. It opened up this incredible dialogue between us where I was able to validate her feelings and create a safe place (via text of course) for her to come to about some tough feelings.

Then on Thanksgiving I invited her to our dinner.  She refused.

After dinner, though the other kidlets were on the phone and I couldn't understand who they could be talking to for so long, so I got on the extension and it was Motherless.  I invited her over, "Hey do you want to come over for pumpkin pie?  We are playing cards too."  She said fine.

She was there within 15 minutes.

All of the kids showed her around the house, they all have new rooms (their own rooms).  S and I have the master bedroom.  She wanted to see that.  She wanted to see The Baby's room.  She said it was cute.  She didn't make fun of anything like she usually does.

After cards and pie, S and I were sitting in the living room with a couple of the kidlets watching TV cuddling under a blanket, and we invited her in to watch with us (which she did for a short while).  We started talking about her favorite movie.... drum roll.... Harold and Maude.  OMFG.  It only happens to be one of S's favorite movies, possibly THE favorite one.  I don't know.  Anyway, we all giggled and shared our favorite scenes.

Then, she gets up and says, "Well I'm leaving, bye" and then leaves.  WTF? 

S tells me she is just a teenager.

It's like my heart has a revolving door and she just spins through it.  But that's not really accurate either.  Because she is ALWAYS in my heart.  Cemented there. 

She was very independent as a baby and toddler.  As a baby she never really had "needs"... I swear.  I mean, of course she fussed a little when I needed to change her diaper or feed her, but while I was doing that she smiled and giggled the whole time. 

She entertained herself mostly.  She would unload my laundry baskets full of laundry.  Over and over again.  She would sit in a kitchen sink full of water and bubbles and play with plastic cups.  She would take everything out of my cupboards and climb in.  When her dad would fix things around the house, she would toddle after him and just sit and watch.  Just watch intently.  She got a doll for Christmas when she was 2 and she became a little momma.  And I would sit and watch.  Intently.  She was so loving and caring.

Motherless sucked her thumb.  She was a self soother.  I was told to "break her of that bad habit."  I saw it differently though and I let her learn to sooth herself.  I did not try to "take her thumb away from her" and she did it on her own when she was ready.  At an age I will not disclose here... just in case she ever reads this... I will say, I sucked MY thumb longer than she did.

At bedtimes I would want to read her a story, but I could never do that.  She would take the book away from me and read ME the story.  Some times the words were jibber jabber of 3 year olds and some times the words were the actual text of the book she had memorized.  The song "Jesus Loves Me" still makes me think of those nights and well... I cry.

All of my photos, my family memories of those times, are left behind with my ex with the promise of, "We'll split the photos between us."  It's been a year.  I don't know if it will ever happen.  And the new memories I have with my oldest daughter, my daughter who made me a Mother, are only the saved texts on my iPhone.  And maybe some emails.  Oh and the Facebook messages.

Today, as I reflect on my little girl, then and now, I am very sad. 

Does she know I love her?
Does she know I miss her so much I cannot breath at times?
Does she know how incomplete Thanksgiving was without her?
Does she know how lonely Christmas morning is going to feel when her stocking stays full and her presents remain unopened?
Does she know I am sorry?

I am sorry.


Asya said...

She knows some of that, and some...she doesn't and can't or won't until she is much older or a mother herself. She also doesn't know just how much she is hurting you sometimes (she knows it hurts, but I don't think she understands how deep it is). You two will one day have a long conversation and be connected much deeper when you discuss and work through this difficult time you have gone through. But ALWAYS, don't forget she does love you whether she can say it or not right now. She probably has some similar questions she is contemplating about you and it will be joyous the day you can both be closer again and not have these unanswered questions. Love~

susan said...

She knows. And she loves and misses you too. One day she will remember more than just the last couple of years. One day she will realize that we are all just people. Even our parents are just people. Even her mom is just a person, a person that is not perfect. One day she will see things differently...I'm sure of it.

Raye said...

If she doesn't know now, one day she will. I see my mother so differently than when I was a kid. The other day Keilan told me he hated me and he wished I was not his mother. It cut deep and Sarah wanted to rail on him about it. She meant well but I told her that he needed to see me cry when he said hurtful things instead of me lashing back at him or punishing him. You are doing the right thing I believe it to the core of my heart. And I applaud your responses to her. One day she will know. And for the record, you are an awesome mom in my opinion.

Elle said...

Mother's are just people. Not super-beings.

Right... Okay...

I'm just a person.

I'm loving my own mom tonight and wishing she could come over and make me some cinnamon toast and tell me that even though she told me once, in anger, that some day I'll have a child treat me the way I was treating her... she didn't mean it. And she didn't mean for me to ever hurt like this. And she is just a person too.

We're all just people. With faults.

And the ability to love and forgive.

AtYourCervix said...

A couple of things El - having been there, done that, and cried my ass off in the process.

Some of it is about finding her own identity. Just like you are a different person (in some ways) than you were when she was a young child, she too is a different person now. You found out more of who you are, as an adult, and she is finding out who she is, as a teenager. Such a time full of angst! She will again "find" who she is as she changes in her adult stages of life (20's to 30's to 40's, etc).

It hurts like a Mo-Fo. We look back at what our daughters were like as children, and what strangers they seem to be as teenagers. Why can't they go back and be the kids that they were? Because they are maturing, developing, morphing into teenagers then into young adults.

She reached out to you via text. She came over your home for dessert, playing cards, seeing the new bedrooms. She spent time with all of you - AS A FAMILY. She was working on not only accepting her new and slightly different family (different from her childhood that is), but she was integrating her new role in her family.

When it got to be enough for her, she left. I'm sure she was going through a lot of things in her mind to process her new role in her new family. And everyone else's roles too.

That "well, I'm leaving, bye" is *SO* typical teenager!!! It's her way of saying - "this is all I can process or handle for now."

She will be back. I know it feels like you're not her mother. I KNOW THAT FEELING!!!! My daughter is 21, has lived out of state since 2004 (OMG, 6 yrs already?!?), and it's felt like I only have two children, not three. But lo and behold, I am still her mother, albeit from a very long distance.

My daughter was downright terrible in her teen years. Mean, nasty, hurtful. She said many things to hurt me - on purpose.

Now? She texts from time to time when she has problems. Or she calls me on the phone. She talks to me about very intimate issues in her life that she cannot talk to her stepmom or her father about. I listen, am non-judgmental, non-critical, and offer possible solutions.

When I tell her I love her, she actually tells me she loves me too. What a HUGE step for her to actually say it to me!

My daughter will change, again, when she becomes a wife and/or mother herself. Then I'm sure I will see an improvement in our relationship. She went through a lot of very difficult times in her teen years. It's going to affect the rest of her life.

But in the end, I am still her mother. She is still my daughter. And I will love her the best I can.

As will you my friend. As will you. xoxoxo

Rexie said...

Baby steps... Time moves along and kids grow up so soon. This is history with your daughter in the making, and I have to say it's for the good and not the bad. I think her nonchalant departure was an attempt to be casual about the whole scenario. It may feel like slow progress, but really it is a huge step. Think of where your relationship with was just under a year ago. She was motherless then. Now, she isn't. Asking advice is involving you in her life in a way a lot of teens don't include their parents. Seeing you and S together in your home was an ice breaker for her, and the sight will become the usual (if not normal) for her. By next Christmas, I bet the two are back on the standard mother/daughter track. Good luck with that! =)

Becca said...

Elle - I have wanted to comment, but was at an unreasonable location with no real computer access. I loved your post, and I totally understand everything you are saying. Since K has been gone, I have been torn between sadness and anger.

I don't know why she chose to leave, I only know what she told her father, which wasn't true.

I hope someday she realizes that I miss her everyday, and that I hope she understands why I had to keep living my life too. I can't wait for a 12 year old to change her mind...

Anyway, know that you are not alone. Know that many of us are living with the decisions of our children, even the ones they make at unreasonably young ages.

You are loved!

BabyCatcher2b said...

She knows..

Even though it's been forever since we talked, I'll never forget our last phone conversation. It feels good to know that someone is there who understands and is willing to listen..I am so glad that you have found you